Saa

July 20, 2007

  Nandemo jibun dekiru tte,
  Tsuyogaru dake tsuyogatte mo ne,
  Kimi ga inakya nan mo dekinai shi
 
When this song starts off, it really does get you into the mood. You’ll feel like like getting up, moving your body and do some shuffling with your feet to the very catchy tune of this song. Yup, that’s the effect this opening song of the anime series Mamotte Shugogetten, Saa, had on me.
 
  Konna chippoke na heya ga ima ja,
  Chotto dake hiroku mieru yo,
  Reizouko akerya nan mo aryashinai ya
 
Unfortunately for me, this is one of my favourite songs which doesn’t have a karaoke version. Or at least an instrumental version would do, but this song has either the full length version or the tv size version. I mean, I’d prefer to have a karaoke version of it (if there is ever going to be one) since there are several background vocals accompanying the lead singer in it. Thus each time, I have to do a duet with the group, SURFACE.
 
  Saa suikonde kure, Boku no sabishi sa,
  Kodoku wo zembu kimi ga,
  Saa kami kudaite kure, Kudaran koto mayami sugiru,
  Boku no warui kuse wo
 
Even though I have been singing this song for quite some time already, I’m still having trouble on occassions trying to pronounce the lyrics perfectly. Yup, since this song is quite fast paced, it would sound almost as if I’m doing a rap. And the bridge part is a tongue twister killer part. My tongue is really twisted when I try that part. Aaa blpshhh ugkmablu bla bla bla. Hehehe. Success rate: probability a person would live up to 200 years old. That bad, huh. And because of that, I’m having a hard time trying to remember the lyrics as well. Though the chorus is much easier.
 
  Saa waratte kure, Mujaki na kao de,
  Mata boku wo chakasu you ni,
  Saa uketotte kure, Kono tsura sa wo,
  Saa wake aimashou… Saa
 
Another thing I like about this song is the funky bass playing. At certain parts of the song it’s quite obvious like in the beginning and the part just before the next verse. Even the electric guitar plucking at the solo part sounds funky and synthesized albeit is just a short one. Though generally I would say that this is another rock song but there are trumpets/horns blazing in the music as well. Other than that, I guess I’ll have to try my best again. Practice time!
 
  Yappari kimi ga dare yori suki dakara,
  Sayonara dekinai…

Mamotte Shugogetten

September 16, 2006

Because it was shown quite early on Sunday mornings by the local tv station, there’re some episodes of the anime series Mamotte Shugogetten that I’ve missed. Mostly episodes at the beginning and the penultimate episode. Plus, the local tv station sort of listed the anime title in a different way (something like Help Me Moon Guardian) so I wasn’t able to identify it at first.
 
So I had to do a little reading up just to get to know the series a little better. It’s about this lonely high school student, Tasuke Shichiri, who lives alone and does many things all by himself. That’s because his single parent father and his sister are travelling round the world. I guess this is a case of being left home alone on purpose. Oh yeah, his mom’s passed on too.
 
One day, he received a gift from his dad (who’s still travelling abroad), a ring-like hexagon crystal called Shitenrin. And as usual, curious, did something to it, and before he know it, some lady in chinese style costume appears before him. Yes, she’s Shaorin Shugogetten, a moon guardian. Just like a genie, she’s been freed from her long imprisonment in the Shitenrin. But unlike a genie, instead of granting 3 wishes, she now becomes Tasuke’s guardian angel who’ll protect and help him.
 
She can also use the powers of the Shitenrin to summon some weird characters (from small one to large ones) to help her. Among those weird characters, there’s a dragon, a weird bird, a large beardy guy, a few tiny soldiers, and Rishu, the one who communicates telepathically with Shaorin as she can’t speak and also to accompany Tasuke when she’s not around him. Because she’s been imprisoned in the ring for so long she doesn’t really know about the customs of the current world. Something like ‘katak dibawah tempurung’ kinda situation. Also to be near Tasuke, she enrols in his school as a foreign exchange student.
 
They say that two’s a company and three’s a crowd. How true when Tasuke receives yet another weird wand-like artifact called Kokutentou from his travelling father. So same thing, curiosity kills the cat. And wahlaa… Another girl by the name of Ruuan Keikounitten appears. She’s quite the opposite of Shaorin and sees her as her main rival and obstacle. Yeah, her main role though isn’t to protect Tasuke but to make him happy with any means possible.
 
She does this by using the powers of Kokutentou which makes inanimate objects come to life. Yeah, you can see the objects have those strange plain eyes and limbs sticking out. And usually they go havoc. I find it funny lah. Plus, when she say "Youtenshin Shourai" to activate her powers, it sounded funny (maybe the dubbed voice was like that). Also as opposed to Shaorin, she doesn’t hesitate to seize the opportunity to make Tasuke hers, as she’s more bold as compared to the shy and naive Shaorin. Yeah, and to make matters worse, she becomes Tasuke’s teacher in his school.
 
So at first and probably most of the episodes we’ll see how Shaorin and Tasuke actually like each other but are too shy to confess to each other. You can see their body language. And gradually they’ll come to terms with their feelings. But there’re other parties obstructing this in the mean time. Yeah, it’s more than just a love triangle between Shaorin, Tasuke and Ruuan. There’re other characters as well.
 
Firstly, there’s Tasuke’s classmate, Takashi Nomura, who fell in love with Shaorin at first sight. And then there’s the spectacle Koichirou Endou, Takashi’s best friend (or rather underling), who fell in love with Ruuan at first sight. If you look at it in a way, they’re both kinda losers, though they both try their best to impress the ones they have a crush on, but to no avail. But I don’t see them getting really jealous or any ill-hatred feelings towards Tasuke. I guess that’s what true friends are (at least in this aspect). However, they’re not giving up just yet.
 
Also, there’s that young local Shinto priest, Izumo Miyauchi, head of the local Miyauchi shrine. Though he’s a priest, he has some sort of a reputation of hitting on girls. Some priest. And he too has a crush on Shaorin. At first he doesn’t really make any significant moves to take Shaorin, but later on the series he does.
 
There’s a character not involve with this love triangle, Shouko Yamanobe. Another one of Tasuke’s schoolmate, she used to be the school’s delinquent, often skipping class and causing trouble. But not only after she met with Shaorin, did she change her ways. And the 2 became instant friends, with Youko trying to teach her stuffs of this world that Shaorin doesn’t understand. Later on, she also helps to bring together Shaorin and Tasuke in their love.
 
Around halfway of the series, in episode 12, we’re introduced to another ‘competitor’ to Tasuke. Yeah, she’s Kaori Aihara. Tasuke met her during some new year prayers at the shrine. And with some twist of events and Tasuke’s kindness and helpfulness, she fell in love with him. We soon find out that she’s a junior student at Tasuke’s school. Also, she’ll get jealous with any other girls being close to Tasuke and is usually in direct competition with Ruuan to win Tasuke’s affections.
 
As mentioned earlier, most of the episodes deal with the relationship between Tasuke and Shaorin and how the others try to get involve and obstruct things. Such as in episode 7, where the gang is being stucked together in pair by their index fingers with some chinese finger band twister or whatever you call it. The pairing of Izumo with the small tank soldier is hilarious. Izumo getting shot most of the time. Poor guy.
 
Or in episode 11, where Shaorin accidentily loses her Shitenrin and Tasuke has to go to great lengths to get it back. Episode 14 where the gang enters some tv game show in a way helped the host and his assistant get back together. In episode 17, Takashi mistakenly steals Shaorin’s school uniform. In order to protect his identity who’s soon to be discovered, he dressed in some make-shift uniform he got nearby. Thus, a rumour of a uniform thief spreads quickly throughout the school. To further prove his innocence that he isn’t the uniform thief, there’re times where he has to quickly change back and act as though he’s chasing the thief. Don’t the other guys notice? I mean those 2 characters aren’t in the same place at the same time? But that’s not important. He even forcefully enlisted the help of Koichirou. But the latter was very reluctant at first. Eventually, when there’s no possible way out for Takashi to hide it all, then comes another uniform thief look-alike (actually it’s Koichirou). Yeah, and a few others too. They came in assortment of colours as well. So funny. In the end, Shaorin got her uniform back and Takashi’s little secret is kept safe among the few.
 
The gang took some trip to some snowy ski resort in episode 13. There Aihara tricked the rest so that she and Tasuke could be alone together in some abandoned cottage. However, her plans go awry when the snow storm’s too great causing both of them to freeze. Luckily Shaorin was there and manage to save them in the nick of time. It’s a battle between Ruuan and Aihara to see who gets to give Tasuke her valentine chocolates in episode 16. So sad for Koichirou. When he thought that Ruuan was gonna give him her chocolates, he was ‘repelled’ away. Funny and sad case. Oh well, tsudzuku ganbatte yo! A non Shaorin-Tasuke-love-related episode 9 is about Ruuan’s fear of cats and how she overcomes it with the help of Koichirou.
 
Of course, there’re episodes where Tasuke’s family members return and he has to deal with them. Like in episode 8, Tasuke’s sister unexpectedly returned from her Egyptian trip. And Tasuke’s trying his best to cover up Shaorin as his sister thought he had a girlfriend living with him. Eventually, she found out and accepted her. Before you know it, she’s off to another world adventure. In episode 18, Tasuke receives a message that his dad is being kidnapped. So the whole gang followed Tasuke to save his dad. Turns out that this was a ploy from his dad to test Tasuke. Yeah, he faked his own kidnapping and played the evil kidnapper. As expected, he’s proud of how his son turned out to be and soon left for another expedition.
 
In episode 18, Izumo is supposed to be wedded off to another girl in some arranged marriage. Of course, he doesn’t want to because he’s still much in love with Shaorin. Then he made up the biggest lie, saying that he’s engaged to her. Ooohh… Tasuke’s not gonna like it. But to prove that Izumo’s telling the truth, the bride-to-be and her mom insisted that they watch Izumo and Shaorin do things together. Yeah, like some sort of a 24 hour surveillance. Of course, Tasuke didn’t allow it at first since it was Izumo’s wrong doing to begin with, but eventually gave in as Shaorin wanted to help him and since it’s only ‘pretending’.
 
So you can see a jealous Tasuke everytime Izumo tries to get close together and do things seemingly what lovers would do. And he’d tried his best to keep his cool. Eventually, Izumo’s cover was blown and this prompted his bride-to-be to be in ‘explosive’ mode. And I mean explosive. Yeah, her anger can just destroy things around her. I guess that’s why Izumo didn’t want to marry her. As the bride-to-be unleasehes some punishment spell on Izumo, he avoided it and the spell hit Shaorin which causes her to be sucked and trapped forever into her own Shitenrin. A brave Tasuke comes to her rescue. This must be the turning point in Shoarin-Tasuke’s relationship. And after witnessing such acts, the bride-to-be and her mom decided not to marry but instead go frolicking. Talk about a change in character. And Izumo’s being punched away by Tasuke.
 
To be grateful for what Shaorin has done for him, Izumo decides to give her (and himself) a free holiday trip ticket to some island. Tasuke wasn’t included but with Shaorin’s request, he eventually allowed it. Well, I guess this episode takes Shaorin-Tasuke relationship a little further with the other gang trying to find some legendary necklace said to make the one you love be with you forever on some mysterious sunken ship which mysteriously resurfaced. They did find the necklace but decided to return it to its rightful owner at the bottom of the ocean.
 
In the last 2 episodes, Shaorin has been imprisoned back in her Shitenrin. Yeah, there’s some old guardian saying something like her time is up, a love between man and such guardians will never last, bla bla bla. And that old bugger took Tasuke through some time travelling back to the past and showed Shaorin’s previous live. Seems like she and Ruuan are bitter enemies and are still fighting one another. And then there’s Shaorin’s previous master, some dying chinese lady. Didn’t get that part.
 
In the end, the love that Tasuke had for Shaorin was so great, that she was managed to be freed once more. But that old guardian, who still couldn’t believe what’s happening, said something like her stay in this world is allowed but only temporary and just for now. Huh? Didn’t get this part too. Then he disappeared. I guess it’s a happy ending that Tasuke and Shaorin could be together again, as so with the rest of the others, though they aren’t bent on giving up just yet. Just like in the final scene where Tasuke took Shaorin’s hand and starts to run away, with the rest chasing them. Ah… The good ol’ days. Perhaps it’s better this way, huh.
 
Overall, this typical man-deity romance comedy anime is rather okay. Felt that those Shaorin’s little helpers weren’t playing a significant part as the series nears its end. One thing I like is the opening theme song, ‘Saa’. Yeah, it’s quite a catchy funky tune with some heavy bass thumping. I also somehow find that the chorus of for ending song ‘I Just Feel So Love Again’ a little out of tune. Is it intended to sound like that? I dunno. Sounds weird. But I got used to it after awhile.
 
As usual, there’s a 6 episode OVA which explores the relationship between Tasuke and Shaorin even further. My guess is that those other people won’t leave them alone either. And I’m sure that in the end those 2 are going to end up together and love each other even more. Am I gonna watch it? For now, since I’ve got my hands full with other animes, I think I’ll pass this one for the time being.